Friday, November 03, 2006

Long distance information, get me Memphis, Tennessee...

Much ado was made in Tennessee last night over whether NBC Nightly News should have broadcast in Memphis, Nashville, or Knoxville. Many Republicans complained that the choice of Memphis showed bias toward Harold Ford, but believe it or not I don't believe that is the case. I don't know how much input anchor Brian Williams had in the decision to choose Memphis, but usually the anchors do have some say. There are two things I know about Brian Williams, that he is a huge fan of NASCAR, and that he makes occasional appearances on Sean Hannity's radio program. While there are liberal NASCAR fans out there, a flaming liberal would know they are going into a hostile environment on Hannity's show.

I think we can reasonably deduce that Williams is not overly biased toward the left, and in fact if I had to choose between the four major network anchors (I count The News Hour with Jim Lehrer in that group) Williams is my favorite by far and away. I think his explanation for why Memphis was chosen rings true (that it is the largest city in the State), because Columbus, Ohio was likely chosen last week for the same reason. Note that you didn't hear many complaints coming from that State that a location closer to the traditional Republican base in Cincinnati would be more appropriate.

What last night's broadcast showed was actually a frightening thing: The limits of our choice as Tennesseans in this Senate election. For a great many of us, we will vote for a candidate we do not like in order to keep another candidate we really do not like from winning, while others in our number will select a candidate who has no chance of winning in order to feel that they have a choice. No matter what the outcome is on Tuesday, I hope both political parties learn something here (though I doubt they will): Voters like stark choices and real right and left differences, voters want to make hard choices, they hate having what they perceive as a Hobson's choice far more.



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